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Absent, Part 2 – The Nuclear Family

April 16, 2017
Father and son learning to ride a bike, Author dadblunders, Source flickr (CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Father and son learning to ride a bike, Author dadblunders, Source flickr (CC BY-2.0 Generic)

“ ‘Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?’ ” (Matt. 7: 9).

With the change in sexual mores stemming from the 1960s and the impact of divorce on the nuclear family, many children grow up in single parent households who might otherwise have had a father actively involved in their lives [1A].

Single Parent Households

According to the US Census Bureau, twelve million households in the US are headed by single parents, 80% of these by single mothers.  And that number is growing [2].

All too often, children become pawns in the power struggle that can ensue in a divorce.  When child support payments are late, women (who may feel powerless to do anything else) at times deny men access to their children.  Unfortunately, this can erode the parental bond to a child’s detriment.

A 2011 study found that non-custodial parents – whether male or female – made only 61% of required child support payments to the parent with custody of their children [7].

As a practical matter, the income of single parent homes is greatly reduced [1B].  One in four American children under the age of 18 is being raised without a father, 45% of these children below the poverty level [3].

Poverty and No Father

The problems associated with poverty, and the absence of a father in the home are significant.  These can range from poor school performance, and high drop-out rates, to emotional and physical abuse or neglect, drug and alcohol use, and delinquent behavior [4].

Child abuse has, in fact, been called the dark underside of cohabitation [5].  A mother’s boyfriend can pose a real threat to the life of a child not his own [6].

Love and Security

None of this is meant to suggest that divorced dads do not love their children.  While some men do abandon a first family and “trade up” to a second, many more fight for custody when a mother is drug addicted, violent, or otherwise incapable of caring for the children.

The point is that a great many children do not experience a father’s love, a father’s example, or the comfort and security of a father’s “day to day” presence.

Divorced dads need to make a special effort to remain full-time fathers.

[1A][1B]  Huffington Post, “The Disappearing Nuclear Family and the Shift to Non-Traditional Households Has Serious Financial Implications for Growing Numbers of Americans” by  Sandra Timmerman and Debra Caruso, 3/27/13, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/debra-caruso/retirement-plan-the-disappearing-nuclear-family_b_2534622.html.

[2]  Pew Research Center, Social Trends, “1. The American Family Today”, 12/17/15,  http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/12/17/1-the-american-family-today/ .

[3]  Single Mother Guide, Single Mother Statistics, https://singlemotherguide.com/single-mother-statistics/.

[4]  Princeton University, Future of Children, “The Effects of Poverty on Children” by Jeanne Brooks-Dunn and Greg Duncan, https://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/docs/07_02_03.pdf.

[5]  NBC News, Children’s Health, “Children at higher risk in non-traditional homes”, 11/18/07, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21838575/ns/health-childrens_health/t/children-higher-risk-nontraditional-homes/.

[6]  The Daily Beast, “Why Are Mothers’ Boyfriends So Likely to Kill?” by Samantha Allen, 9/25/15,  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/09/25/why-are-mothers-boyfriends-so-likely-to-kill.html.

[7]  Time, “How Deadbeat are Deadbeat Dads, Really?” by Belinda Luscombe, 6/15/15, http://time.com/3921605/deadbeat-dads/.

This series will continue next week with Absent, Part 3 – Children Having Children

Wishing You All A Happy Easter!

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  http://www.avoicereclaimed

9 Comments
  1. Seems that so many married couples take the path with easiest resistance. In today’s world the stress of monetary and the acts of selfness, make the odds of folks staying together slim to none.

  2. A profound and important post! I have seen many cases of single mothers under unbelievable stress as they try to make ends meet. I believe many get a boyfriend or marry quickly simply to pay bills instead of marrying for love.

    And you know what? Most conservative Christians don’t have solutions, or try to help. You can’t just say, “repent of your sins.” They are victims in many cases, including of adultery. This results in a greater number of abortions. Where is the church when women need help?

    • Thank you so much, Nicodemas. I knew a woman once who decided to have the child of rape by her ex-boyfriend because of her Christian beliefs. Rather than encouragement and support, she encountered judgment and rejection from many of her fellow Christians. A sad statement about us.

      • Yes for sure. I know there are churches, that would treat her with love and acceptance but they are difficult to find. Peace to you.

  3. How many Anna put their Children first or anyone else for that matter today, with the majority it’s all about what they want regardless of who suffers and this includes Mothers not just Fathers.

    So what does Jesus say about divorce, He says it shows a hard heart and this is what unforgiveness is all about, instead of resolving conflict they run away holding onto bitterness and resentment which poisons their soul and than Children become the victims as you shared.

    Christian Love – Anne.

  4. I meant to add Anna that it only takes one to show unforgiveness , to walk away and to seek a Divorce, some are the victims of those who do, or than there are those who need to protect themselves and their Children from abuse, God does not condone abusive behavior afflicted on the helpless, yes He hates Divorce but also violence.

    Blessings – Anne.

    • I’m glad you added that clarification, Anne. Too many women have been sent back into abusive situations by their priests and ministers.

      Blessings,

      A.

      • Yes I know Anna, God does not encourage victimization but He also does not condone those who leave there spouses for selfish gain or to commit Adultery with someone else.

        He knows our hearts and what motivates us for good or evil and He has Compassion for those who are the Victims of someone else’s abuse and hardness of heart, He does not judge them harshly as some do without understanding..

        Blessings – Anne.

  5. Reblogged this on Dr. Lloyd Stebbins and commented:
    Anna Waldherr continues her commentary on the effects of a collapsing modern culture. Do yourself an important favor; read it all.

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